I have just discovered a graduated engineering student who open up a 3D printing service business in my home town Adelaide, Australia. You can view his website here.

This post is not about his website but about an article that he has written about the pricing of 3D printers and how much you would need to sell to make a profit. It also highlights some pitfalls which make interesting reading. You can read the full article from here => Low-cost 3D printers and crowdfunding suicide.

Here is the article conclusion:

My analysis made a lot of assumptions but I explained them all and they remain fair. Changing values for salaries, manufacturing and warranty costs will vary the results but I took conservative estimates. Of course, my analysis is entirely in my own opinion and I accept my bias and pessimism however I would not have written this much and spied on so many Kickstarter projects for so long if I wasn’t genuinely worried about the lying going on there.

I believe that almost all low-cost 3D printer makers out there on Kickstarter innocently make mistakes by rather severely underestimating the costs in scaling up production and the costs in supporting a 3D printer with full-time tech support which is critical as the market targets new users. These mistakes however, are not excusable by the companies that plan to make it big in the 3D printing world that offer stretch goals and even allow themselves to sell more than a couple hundred printers. These companies are more likely to make a lot of money and they should know better. Their actions regularly lose hundreds of thousands and in some cases, millions of dollars from people wanting to get into 3D printing.

It upsets me that some of the most enthusiastic and excited people out there who want a 3D printer, are the ones who lose all the money. They don’t have the time or knowledge to know what is viable and what isn’t, they get caught up in the hype of a new exciting product.

The companies that pass the point of no return, knowing full well they can not deliver a product and instead of giving partial refunds, they continue to lose money pursuing a higher RRP printer however, are the scourge of the industry. Their blindness to reality bankrupts themselves and leaves thousands of disappointed customers, tainting the industry.

February 13, 2015

Long Nguyen Long Nguyen
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